Trump refuses to certify Iran nuclear deal and throws its fate to Congress

Accusing Iran of not living up to the spirit of the nuclear agreement, Trump gives the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the 2015 pact.

US President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it.

Trump announced the major shift in US policy in a speech that detailed a more confrontational approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East.

Trump said in an address at the White House that his goal is to ensure Iran's never obtains a nuclear weapon.

"We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout," Trump said.

While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

Trump warned that if "we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated."

Trump also said that the US will impose tough sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

He also announced that he had authorised the US treasury to impose the sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards as a supporter of terrorism.

The US president later also said he wants to see action to fix the flaws he sees in the Iran nuclear deal in a short period of time, adding that he could end the deal instantaneously.

"We'll see what happens over the next short period of time and I can do that instantaneously," Trump told reporters when asked why he did not choose to scrap the deal now.

"I like a two-step process much better," said Trump, who was speaking shortly after he announced he would not certify the 2015 deal.

"Not for any country to terminate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal"

The United States cannot unilaterally cancel the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in reaction to Trump's decision not to certify the accord.

Mogherini said the Iran nuclear deal cannot be renegotiated and there is the need for a collective process to preserve it

"We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working," said Mogherini, who chaired the final stages of the landmark talks.

"This deal is not a bilateral agreement ... The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will, continue to be in place," Mogherini told reporters.

Mogherini said she spoke to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson immediately after Trump's speech on Friday.

Pentagon identifying new areas to pressure Iran, reviewing plans

The US military said on Friday it was reviewing the "entire breadth" of its security cooperation activities, force posture and plans to support President Donald Trump's new strategy on Iran.

"We are identifying new areas where we will work with allies to put pressure on the Iranian regime, neutralise its destabilising influences, and constrain its aggressive power projection, particularly its support for terrorist groups and militants," Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said.

France, Britain, Germany warn US over moves on Iran

The leaders of France, Britain and Germany warned the United States against taking decisions that could harm the Iran nuclear deal such as re-imposing sanctions after Trump annonced his decision not to certify the agreement.

The three leaders also said in a joint statement that they shared the US' concerns over Iran's ballistic missile programme and regional destabilising activities and were ready to work with Washington to address those concerns.

Netanyahu lauds Trump's Iran turn, sees chance to change nuclear deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated US President Donald Trump for his speech against Iran on Friday, seeing an opportunity to change the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran as well as Iranian conduct in the region.

"He (Trump) boldly confronted Iran's terrorist regime (and) created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran's aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism," Netanyahu said in a Facebook video.

Russian foreign ministry regrets Trump's move

Russia's foreign ministry said on Friday after US President Donald Trump imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that there was no place in international diplomacy for threatening and aggressive rhetoric, and such methods were doomed to fail.

The ministry said in a statement Trump's decision to de-certify an international deal on Iran's nuclear program would not have a direct impact on implementation of the agreement, but that it ran counter to its spirit.

The ministry said that, whatever the US position, there could be no return to imposing United Nations sanctions on Iran.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday it was "extremely troubling" that US President Donald Trump was raising questions that had been settled when an international deal on Iran's nuclear programme was signed, RIA news agency reported.

Ryabkov was quoted as saying that Russia sees its main task now as preventing the Iran nuclear deal from collapsing. He called on all sides to stay committed to the deal, the news agency reported.

Source: Reuters

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